It's always exciting having an upcoming game set to be released with promising developers, an interesting art style, and an interesting concept. This is no different for the eventual release of BitCraft, a “massively multiplayer community sandbox game (from their website).” I have had my eye on BitCraft ever since I saw the announcement trailer in late 2021. Its art style reminded me of Sky: Children of Light with gameplay similar to that of Valheim, which, if combined correctly, could result in something truly beautiful. As of now, the pre-alpha has been restricted to players that have received an email and signed an NDA, thus I haven’t heard of anything about it yet. If you want to get a chance at access to the pre-alpha, just head over to their website and sign up.
That being said, there is still plenty to go off of to speculate how the game will play, look, and feel. There is a community discord server with direct access to some of the developers that give wonderful insight as to how the game will turn out. The website is also full of wonderful tidbits of lore that give players a bit of background information on the game/characters motives and personality. I’ve gathered as much of that information as I could and threw it into this article to try and give all of you the best idea of what BitCraft will be like in the future. Specifically, I’ll be discussing:
BitCraft is being developed by Clockwork Labs, a venture game studio based in California. Unfortunately, there is not very much to go off of in terms of past creations as BitCraft will be their first game. However, I would not knock them too much for that as everyone has to start somewhere. Moreover, they have some notable investors with genuine credit in the gaming industry. For starters, they are backed by Supercell which has a massive history in the mobile game industry (Clash of Clans, Clash Royale, etc.). In the realm of MMORPG’s, they are also backed by Hilmar Petursson who is the CEO of CCP Games that created EVE Online. Finally, they have David Helgason, the founder of Unity Technologies. This gives some sense of ethos to Clockwork Labs as they have managed to convince so many powerhouse names.
Now onto the more important part, what’s BitCraft going to play like? While there has not been any gameplay released to reference, the trailer provides some useful insight into the game's mechanics. It seems to be an MMORPG from the third person perspective (like WoW). There are a ton of different NPC’s located around the land that players are able to walk up to and interact with, presumably to receive some sort of quest or lore related information.
More interestingly, the game’s website mentions that the land will be procedurally generated into a single server. As to how that would exactly work if the game were to blow up and have millions upon millions of players, I’m unsure. The developer’s website also mentions that they are more focused on the social interaction rather than combat, so having everyone in a single server seems to be the most practical way to promote interaction amongst players.
Speaking of social interaction, the website mentions some sort of city interaction in which players can create villages, towns, and even empires to interact with others. This brings in an interesting political aspect to the game that reminds me of the old factions in WoW. However, there is little focus on the combat system meaning that instead of factions coming together to gain power it may be more about interests, friendliness, and personality, yanno, those human emotions that seem to have little play in modern politics.
The website also mentions a skill system that allows players to ‘master their skills as they practice them.’ This reminds me of Runescape’s skill system but I hope it does not require the same time investment as 99 did. I do love that this encourages players to develop a certain playstyle as they level the specific skills in the tasks they enjoy doing. This plays even better into the society building as players would specialize and be useful for specific tasks within their community.
While it is hard to tell exactly what is possible in BitCraft, it seems there is more possible than impossible. The website mentions ‘farming, hunting, crafting, city-building, social strategy’ and some combat aspects. They seem to be favoring more of an Animal Crossing playstyle rather than PvP oriented.
A core aspect of the game seems to be survival. It mentions that players will wake up in the wilderness and be forced to create some sort of shelter to survive. I’d imagine this means that social interaction is something that is ‘unlocked’ after a bit of play rather than being able to team up immediately, but who knows.
Looking at their Twitter, they have posted a bunch of weekly images of certain in-game aspects that may hint at how the game will play. For example, there are Cairn Stones that have a description of “It’s more than just piling up rocks - it’s leaving a visible note for others to see, and to mark on their maps, enabling them to find it again afterwards.” This reminds me of the notes players can leave in the Dark Souls games or even just signs from Minecraft.
A recent blog post from Clockwork Labs gives some insight as to how the building will work. Since there are going to be so many people on a single server, they stated they will be favoring a more ‘template-style’ of building rather than how it is in Minecraft or Valheim. This makes sense given how many people are going to be playing in the singular world as I imagine clutter will be an issue the developers will face upon release.
If you are interested in some of the lore behind the game, I strongly recommend reading the Ancient Journals posted on the game’s website. It follows a character’s journey throughout the in-game world and gives some insight as to the ‘ruins’ left behind by former civilizations. It centers around a character leaving behind an established city and their own studies to explore the world and follow their heart. The journals themselves are rather vague in nature so don’t expect to get any hard facts about the in-game world. It does serve as a nice little teaser as for what is to come.
About a month ago, the final journal was posted titled ‘The End.’ It talks about how the end is nye for the world as there are no mothers left in the world. The character writing in the journal is supposedly the last mother in the land which obviously presents a problem. I’m unsure how this fits in with the game’s main premise of being a MMORPG (tons of players spawning in ). If I had to guess, I’d say that these journals are a reference to the civilizations/ruins players will find by exploring the land. Sadly, it sounds like these ancient civilizations are no more as the inability to reproduce seemed to be their downfall. Even so, this will hopefully give the in-game world a richer atmosphere that will be even more interesting to explore to find out more about the ancient peoples.
Sadly, that’s just about all of the information I could gather about BitCraft at this moment. If you’re interested in the game, I would recommend keeping up with both the website and their Twitter account as they are constantly being updated with new information. If you’re really interested, join the Discord that was linked at the beginning of the article. There, you can ask questions to some of the developers or just interact with other people interested in the game. Who knows, you may end up finding your future in-game best friend!
Heading image courtesy of wccftech.com